April 18, 2024
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Let Us Do Something About It

We are certainly blessed and thankful to live in a town with a diligent and extremely sympathetic town manager, as well as those who work with him and the Teaneck police force. However, the antisemitic events in Teaneck since October 7, and particularly the protest on March 10 at Keter Torah, require us to do more ourselves, and to demand more from our public officials. So, with the deepest respect and thanks to Dean Kazinci, Deputy Tom Rowe and the Teaneck Police Department, let me propose the following:

1. Just as I am subject to being ticketed if I violate traffic laws, protesters who violate traffic laws should be treated the same way. Similarly, just as my car can be impounded for an expired registration or for blocking traffic, protesters should not be treated any differently.

2. Chapter 31B of the Township of Teaneck Code (entitled “Special Events”) requires that “any organized group having a common purpose or goal proceeding along a public street or other public right of way” must apply for and receive a permit. It is my understanding that the organizers of the March 10 protest did not apply for or obtain a permit. We should insist that anyone planning to organize a similar event in the future comply with the requirements of Chapter 31B. These requirements ask for very specific information concerning the organizers and the proposed event, including their agreement to indemnify the town for “any and all claims caused by or arising out of the permitted activities.”

3. The ultimate decision as to whether to grant the permit lies with the town manager. While the denial of a permit would probably be overruled by a court, Chapter 31B does permit the town manager to impose conditions on the granting of the permit. Moreover, despite the liberal scope of the First Amendment’s freedom of speech, courts throughout the United States have upheld reasonable conditions in permits concerning the time, place and manner of protests. I would submit that there is no good reason to allow protests anywhere close to a house of worship, a school or a community center, and I would encourage anyone reading this to contact the town manager and the police department to insist that future permits contain these conditions and restrictions. The Mayor of Toronto, Canada has just proposed a similar restriction to prohibit protests within 100 meters of a house of worship.

Instead of, or hopefully in addition to, complaining about the current situation, let us do something about it.

Martin Stein

Teaneck

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